Shared and sharing plots

This guidance covers the definition of shared plots, and our approach to including them on the cadastral map.

A shared plot is an area which is:

  • owned in common by two or more proprietors
  • owned by virtue of ownership of a principal or sharing plot

For example, ownership of a house could lead to shared ownership of an access footpath with an adjacent house. This footpath would then be treated as a shared plot. However, a separate piece of land owned in common by the same proprietors but not related to the ownership of their houses would not be treated as a shared plot.

Shared plots have separate cadastral units and title sheets from sharing plots. Particular rules apply to title sheets for both sharing and shared plots.

About shared plots

The 2012 Act introduces new concepts, one of these being shared plots. Section 17 provides a scheme to define shared plots, introducing separate title sheets for common areas. This aligns with section 3(1) and (6), which establishes the key principle that each registered plot of land should have a separate title sheet, and that, with the exception of tenements, there should only be one title sheet for each plot of land and no registration without mapping. Where a plot of land is owned in common, that title sheet may be designated a shared plot title sheet.

The Keeper's policy under the 1979 Act is to include any rights to shared or common areas in the title sheets of the primary properties. This means that the shared area is registered under, and appears in multiple title sheets.  The shared plot scheme in the 2012 Act is a significant departure from 1979 Act practice.

A shared plot is a plot of land owned in common by proprietors of two or more other plots of land. However, ownership of the shared area is by virtue of ownership of the principal plot, which becomes a sharing plot. Using an access footpath between two houses as an example; it is ownership of the house which then leads to ownership of the shared footpath.

Under the 2012 Act, using the above scenario, the common area of ground is allocated a separate cadastral unit and is designated a shared plot title sheet. Those properties with a share in the common area are known as sharing plots, and the property section of each of the sharing plot title sheets must disclose the title number of the shared plot and its respective share therein.

The proprietorship section for the shared plot title sheet must set out the ownership of the plot and, in terms of section 7(1)(b), the respective shares of the various proprietors. The proprietorship section of the shared plot title sheet will list the title numbers of the sharing plots rather than repeating the names and designations of all the proprietors of the sharing plots. In addition, it will disclose the respective share for each sharing plot.

Unless expressly stated to the contrary, any reference in a document to a sharing plot is to be construed to include the rights in the shared plot.

In order to comply with the general application conditions, from the designated day an application to register a deed affecting an unregistered plot (equivalent of a First Registration), or a deed affecting part of a registered plot (equivalent to a Transfer of Part) or an application to voluntary register a plot that includes an area in common ownership, must state the quantum of that share, otherwise the application falls to be rejected.

The Keeper's view, in line with that of the Scottish Law Commission, is that where a deed does not expressly state the share, the common law rule applies, ie that the share is equal amongst the proprietors. Some historical conveyancing deeds do not specify the shares but identify instead, the individual properties that have a share, eg between the proprietors of 3 to 12 Main Street.

In such circumstances, the deed inducing registration should not merely refer back to the historical conveyancing but should (other than for those applications equivalent to a Dealing with Whole) specifically narrate the share appropriate to the plot of land being registered. However, should the transitional provisions set out in schedule 4 apply to the area owned in common, the quantum share need not be narrated in the deed.

From the designated day, the transitional provisions in schedule 4 may be applied to include common areas in the title sheet of the primary plot, where shares in the common area have been registered as part of existing title sheets prior to the designated day. Where a 'development' was started pre-designated day, for consistency of approach and understanding, the Keeper will create the title following the mapping policy of the 1979 Act. An easy way to remember this provision is:

''The Keeper has started so she'll finish…"

In such cases, the cadastral unit for the house plot will include the shared footpath, car parking spaces, etc.  A separate title sheet will not be created for these areas but instead they will be narrated in the title sheet for the primary plot. The allocated shares will be narrated where identified.

The Keeper will update existing title sheets, and those registered using the transitional provisions, to reflect the terms of the 2012 Act as part of a structured conversion programme at a later date.

For those developments where the first application from the development is submitted for registration after the designated day, the Keeper will apply the provisions of the 2012 Act, and common areas, where appropriate, will be designated shared plot title sheets.

Shared plots in detail

Where an area of ground is owned in common by multiple proprietors it cannot be designated a shared plot unless their ownership of the plot is an incident of their ownership of defined other (primary) plots.  For example, two proprietors each owning a plot with a house, but entirely separately, e.g. one owns a house in St Andrews, the other a house in Dumfries, and together they each own a 1/2 pro indiviso share of another plot in St Andrews. The plot of land to which they have shared ownership cannot be designated a shared plot as ownership is not as a consequence of ownership of the other plots in St Andrews and in Dumfries. This is simply a case of a plot of land being owned in common.

Where a number of plots have a right to use a specified area but no right of ownership, that area cannot be designated a shared plot.

A servitude right cannot be designated a shared plot. A servitude right in a footpath between A and B cannot be designated a shared plot as the underlying plot is not owned by both of them.

Undefined common areas are not registrable, as there can be no registration without mapping, and undefined areas are not mapped. It follows that common areas, where the extent cannot be clearly identified and defined on the cadastral map, cannot be designated shared plots. Indeed such an application must be rejected as it does not comply with the conditions of registration.

Schedule 4 of the 2012 Act provides transitional provisions for common areas that form part of an existing title sheet falling within a development begun before the designated day. From the designated day, where an application includes a common area that forms part of a pre-designated day title sheet, the said common area need not be designated a shared plot in terms of section 17. The common area can be included as part of the new title sheet; and the Keeper may follow the style previously adopted under the terms of the 1979 Act. In such circumstances, if the quantum share of the common area was not specified in existing title sheets, it need not be entered in the new title sheet. However, this exception only applies to those developments begun before the designated day.  Where transitional provisions apply the common area must be clearly identified and, as detailed above, where the extent of the common area cannot be clearly identified and defined on the cadastral map the application must be rejected.

Particular rules apply to title sheets which are designated shared and sharing plot title sheets:

  • A shared plot or common area should have its own title sheet.
  • A shared plot title sheet is the title sheet for the plot of land owned in common by the proprietors of two or more other plots of land (e.g. separate title sheet created for ownership of a shared footpath or amenity area).
  • A sharing plot title sheet is the title sheet for the plot of land (e.g. house plot) that has a common share of ownership (e.g. 1/2 pro indiviso share) to the shared plot.
  • Section 17(2) gives the Keeper discretion to designate a title sheet a shared plot title sheet.
  • In title sheets and deeds, reference to a sharing plot must be taken to include the linked shared plot unless it specifically states otherwise.
  • The property section of the sharing plot must state the title number(s) of the shared plot(s) title sheet in which it has a share, and the quantum of that share, e.g. one third.

The shared plot title sheet must contain the following particular information in relation to the sharing plots:

Proprietorship section:

The title numbers of all the registered sharing plots and the quantum of those shares, e.g. one third but not the names or designations of the various proprietors of the sharing plots.

Securities section:

A statement that the shared plot may be affected by securities registered against the sharing plot(s) but not details of the individual securities registered against a sharing plot.

An exception to the above being where the heritable security is over the shared plot only, then the relevant details of any creditor should be entered.

Burdens section:

Burdens affecting the plot, but they may be omitted therefrom any burdens which are or may be noted against the sharing plot.

However the burdens section for the shared plot must contain a statement that the shared plot may be subject to such other encumbrances as may be registered against the sharing plots.

The Keeper may revoke the designation of a shared plot from a title sheet and return it to an ordinary title sheet. In converting the title sheet to an ordinary title sheet, the Keeper may require to make certain consequential amendments to the title sheets to reflect the nature of the plots of land.

Leases

The concept of shared and sharing plots also applies to registration of leasehold subjects. However, under the Act certain other conditions also apply to the registration of leases.

Effect of sections 24 and 25

Conditions of registration: certain deeds relating to unregistered plots

When registering leasehold subjects, sections 24 and 25 of the Act are applied. This means that in order to register a lease over an unregistered plot, the underlying ownership of the plot must first be registered. This is referred to as automatic plot registration and is discussed in separate guidance on leases and automatic plot registration.

Shared plots, sharing plots and leases

The terms and conditions applicable to the registration of shared and sharing plots in respect of leases mirror those set out above for non-leasehold registrations.

Reference in a document to a shared plot

In terms of section 26(1)(c) of the 2012 Act any deed submitted for registration must narrate the title number of each title sheet to which the application relates. An exception to this is where the deed affects a shared plot title. Section 17(4) of the 2012 Act states:

'Unless the context otherwise requires, any reference in a document to a sharing plot is to be taken to include a reference to the share in the shared plot which pertains to the sharing plot'.

Any deed submitted for registration must make reference to the title number of the primary plot (the sharing plot), but no reference to the shared plot title number is required as the interests in the shared plot are carried without express reference. Only where the deed specifically affects or is an exception to the shared plot should the document make reference to the shared plot title number.

Application to register a deed/plot with a share in a common area

Application to register a:

  • Deed transferring title to an unregistered primary plot together with a share in a common area
  • Deed transferring title to a primary plot forming part of a registered plot together with a share in a common area

Where the deed transfers title to an area of ground that is owned in common with another person by virtue of their ownership of the primary plot the Common Areas questions on Part B of the application form should be completed. If the extent of the common area has previously been registered as a shared plot and the title number is known the shared plot title number should be provided in the Common Areas section of Part B only. The shared plot title number must not be added to Part A of the application form as this will generate the incorrect fee. The shared plot title number need not be included in the deed but the application must contain sufficient detail to clearly identify the common area.

Where a historical conveyancing deed does not specify the quantum share in the common area or where it identifies instead the individual properties that have a share (e.g. between the proprietors of 3 to 12 Main Street) and the common area has been designated a shared plot or will be designated a shared plot the quantum share should be included in the deed inducing registration.

Application to voluntary register an unregistered primary plot together with a share in a common area

Where the application is to register an area of ground that is owned in common with another person by virtue of their ownership of the primary plot the Common Areas questions on Part B of the application form should be completed. If the extent of the common area has previously been registered as a shared plot and the title number is known the shared plot title number should be provided in the Common Areas section of Part B only. The shared plot title number must not be added to Part A of the application form as this will generate the incorrect fee. The application must contain sufficient detail to clearly identify the common area.

Where the historical conveyancing deed does not specify the quantum share in the common area or where it identifies instead the individual properties that have a share (e.g. between the proprietors of 3 to 12 Main Street) and the common area has been designated a shared plot or will be designated a shared plot the quantum share must be added to the Further Information section of the application form.

Application to register a deed over the whole of a registered primary plot together with a registered share in a shared plot

Part A of the application form must narrate the primary plot (the sharing plot) title number only. The shared plot title number must not be added to Part A of the application form as this will generate the incorrect fee. The deed need not make reference to the shared plot title number.

Completion of registration

Where the Keeper designates a common area a shared plot and the application to register the first share narrates the share as a fraction or where the deed only identifies the other properties that have a share in the common area and the Keeper considers the common law rules apply the first share will be entered in the sharing plot and the shared plot title sheets using a fraction format. Where the deed narrates the first share in a percentage format the first share will be entered in the sharing plot and the shared plot title sheets as a percentage.

Where an application is submitted to register any subsequent shares the Keeper will enter each share in the same format as the first share (i.e. where the deed inducing registration of the first share states the quantum share is 50% and the deed inducing registration of the second share states the quantum share is 1/2 the Keeper will enter the second share in the sharing and the shared plot title sheets as 50%).

Rejection

Quantum share not identified

Where a transfer of title deed includes a share in a common area that is designated a shared plot and the quantum share is not identified in an application to voluntary register a plot or to register a deed over an unregistered plot/deed over part of a registered plot the Keeper will be unable to enter the details in the title sheets as required under s.18(2)(a) and (b) of the Act. The application will be rejected for failing to comply with general application condition s.22(1)(a) as the Keeper is unable to comply with the duties under Part 1 of the Act.

Extent of common area not identified

In terms of the conditions of registration detailed in s.23(1)(d), s.25(1)(b), s.26(1)(d) and s.28(1)(a) where an application is submitted to voluntary register a plot or to register a deed over an unregistered plot/deed over part of a registered plot there must be sufficient detail in the application to enable the Keeper to identify the common area and delineate the boundaries of the plot(s) on the cadastral map. Where there is insufficient detail the application will be rejected in terms of the said conditions of registration.

Notifications

Where an application to voluntary register a plot or to register a deed over an unregistered plot/deed over part of a registered plot with a share in a common area is received by the Keeper an acknowledgement notification will be provided. Where the Keeper designates a plot of ground owned in common a shared plot no further acknowledgement notification will be provided.

On an application for registration being accepted the Keeper will notify the relevant parties where a valid email address(es) has been provided on the application form. As part of the acceptance notification the Keeper will include an electronic link to a PDF version of the title sheet. Where the Keeper has designated a common area a shared plot title the notification will also include a section titled 'Shared plots' which will list the shared plot title number(s) and the share details pertaining to the primary plot (the sharing plot) together with a separate electronic link to a PDF version of each shared plot title sheet.

Sharing and shared plot extracts

View separate guidance on extracts, certified copies and plain copies

When a request is received for an extract or plain copy of a primary plot (sharing plot) title sheet the appropriate fee in terms of the Fee Order will apply. In addition the Keeper will also provide an extract or plain copy of any associated shared plot title sheets, for no additional fee.

When a request is received for an extract or certified copy of a shared plot title sheet only the appropriate fee in terms of the Fee Order will apply. The Keeper will provide the extract or plain copy of the shared plot title sheet only and will not provide an extract or plain copy of any associated primary plot (sharing plot) title sheets.

Where a person seeks to request an extract or plain copy of part of the cadastral map this will be limited to one cadastral unit per extract or copy. When a request is received for an extract or plain copy of the primary plot (sharing plot) cadastral unit, the Keeper will also provide an extract or plain copy of any associated shared plot cadastral units, for no additional fee.

When a request is received for an extract or plain copy of the shared plot cadastral unit only, the appropriate fee in terms of the Fee Order will apply. The Keeper will provide the extract or plain copy of the shared plot cadastral unit only and will not provide an extract or plain copy of the associated primary plot (sharing plot) cadastral units.

Viewing sharing and shared plot(s) on Registers Direct

Where a title search is completed on Registers Direct by entering the shared plot title number only there will be no charge to view the shared plot title sheet.

Where a title search is completed that returns a list of entries (i.e. an address search is completed) the normal charge will apply. The user will be able to select and view the first title (ordinary title or sharing plot title) for free and then select and view any related shared plot title without incurring a further charge. Any additional titles that are viewed that are not shared plots will be subject to additional charges.

Where a seed point search is completed on the index map the normal charge will apply. The title number box will list the title number for each seed point displayed. Where a seed point relates to a shared plot the title will be identified in the title number box as a shared plot by the addition of '(S)' to the title number i.e. MID12345 (S). The user will be able to select and view the first title (ordinary title or sharing plot title) for free and select and view a related shared plot title without incurring a further charge. Any additional titles that are viewed that are not shared plots will be subject to additional charges.

Title sheet examples

View an example of a shared plot title sheet [PDF, 368KB]

View an example of a sharing plot title sheet [PDF, 363KB]

Footnotes

  1. Section 22(1)(a): The application is such that the Keeper is able to comply, in respect of it, with such duties as the Keeper has under Part 1. Such information is required to enable the Keeper to complete the proprietorship section of the title sheet, section 7(2).
  2. Applies where (i) the area owned in common has not been registered in the land register prior to designated day as part of an existing title sheet or (ii) the common area does not form part of a development begun before the designated day, as noted in the transitional provisions outlined in Schedule 4 of the 2012 Act.
  3. The specificity principle.
  4. Section 17 (4).
  5. Section 18(1)(a).
  6. Section 18(2)(a).
  7. Section 18(1)(b).
  8. Section 18(2)(b).
  9. Section 18(3)(b).
  10. Section 18(2)(c).
  11. Section 18(3)(b).
  12. Section 18(4) & (5).
  13. Section 18(2)(d).
  14. Section 19(1).
  15. The entirety of the landlord's title need not be registered, only the area over which the lease is being assigned.